Me Geek, You Geek Reviews Daredevil #114!
In the spirit of the holidays I hesitated posting the review to Daredevil #114. If you've been reading MGYG, The Other Murdock Papers, or F's Kitchen, you're aware of the debate that's been raging over issue #113. The debate in which I seem to be standing alone against the tide of my fellow bloggers and DD fans.
The debate, you see, had much to do about the lack of action that's going on (or not going on) in the title. All who took part in the debate agree there is very little action in the current run. The debate began when we started discussing whether this hurt the story or not.
At the time, since I wanted to make sure that I wasn't speaking out of the wrong side of my ass (what?) I did some technical analysis of the percentage of action scenes and the percentage of DD in costume that occurred in #113.
Here's a quick recap:
There are 22 pages in the book.
Only 8 pages (36%) do we see Daredevil in his tights.
Only 5 pages (23%) do we see any DD action.
To not be out done by myself, once the debate started heating I decided to jump in further. I decided to take a good DD run (Guardian Devil, Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada) and put it to the MGYG action test. Here are the numbers:
Issue #1: 7 pages (32%)
Issue #2: 4 pages (18%)
Issue #3: 10 pages (45%)
Issue #4: 10 pages (45%)
Issue #5: 20 pages (91%!!)
Issue #6: 19 pages (86%)
Issue #7: 19 pages (86%)
Issue #8: 7 pages (32%)
That's an average of 54% of action for each comic book during this 8 issue run.
Compare this to the most recent 8 issues (excluding #114) of Brubaker's run:
Issue #106: 5 pages (23%)
Issue #107: 5 pages (23%), there was actually more action pages in the three page Moon Knight preview in the back of the comic.
Issue #108: 2 pages (9%)
Issue #109: 5 pages (23%)
Issue #110: 12 pages (55%) Yea!
Issue #111: 0 pages (00%) This is the "dirty dog" issue where Matt gets some action in bed, but nothing that is heroic by any means.
Issue #112: 0 pages (00%) Are you kidding me?
Issue #113: 8 pages (36%) The issue that started this debate.
That's an average of 21% of action for each comic book during this 8 issue run.
Clearly there's a difference. Now, I must reiterate, that I do not believe that the entertainment factor of reading a comic book can be predicted by the amount of action scenes. There is no correlation between an increase in action scenes and an increase in entertainment value. We could point to comics in the 90's to demonstrate this.
But we read superhero comic books for action. And I don't think I am going out on a limb to say that we read superhero comic books for, well, superheroes.
At the end of the #113 debate I looked to the future and stated:
I love the passion if (<-- nice typo Jon! so have been "of") us DD fans...it is truly great! Wait until next issue! We'll all be dying to rip in to one another.
Well, the next issue is here. Let the ripping begin.
The most recent issue of Daredevil, #114, falls flat in the same ways the last several issues did. Please be aware, in order to talk about my displeasure with this issue I need to spoil some of the story!
SO DON"T READ ON IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED!
Nothing! We don't even get to see DD in his DD tights. And we see him in this much action...0! In fact, there are only 4 pages of action. But I digress...
Page one was actually pretty funny, as Matt's internal dialogue has him thinking he should just shun friends, family, etc. and live in a cave...but decides that doing that would only make him more crazy than he already is...more crazy like that Bat-fellow, who this was an obvious nod to.
So Matt is wondering why his wife has been given over to her parent's custody and is really being a little piss ant for the first 3 pages. Foggy is doing his best to say, "Hey pal, chill out and let's figure this out" but Matt continues to be a dill hole.
Then we have 2 pages of the Black Tarantula, Iron Fist, and the new old guy (Master Izo), who apparently was Stick's teacher (ugh!). Two pages of a conversation between two characters who are not on the cover of the book. Now, I'm not saying this is all bad, but it is what it is. And this isn't the end of these two.
Then it's back to Matt and Foggy meeting with Milla's parents and their attorneys. One of the attorneys Matt thinks might be Lady Bullseye but isn't able to finish his thoughts on it.
We get four pages of this meeting and we find out that the parents know about Matt and Dakota North and their hanky panky. And we get to see pictures of Matt and Ms. North and said hanky panky that a private investigator took while Matt and Dakota did the hanky panky right next to a window!
Now grant it, no way would Matt, a man with hypersenses, hear the heart beat of the person who was watching them. Nor would he smell the person. Nor would he hear the clicking and whirring of the camera as the P.I. snapped away pictures. Nope. None of that would happen.
This is Daredevil Brubaker! Start writing him using his senses!
Then we have three pages of action with the Blank Tarantula fighting some ninjas to help the White Tiger, who we thought died last issue. But ultimately it looks like she was killed and brought back to life by the Hand, a la Elektra. Oh...how original!
Then back to three more pages of Matt and Foggy head shots as they talk about why the hell Matt is a crazy lunatic and why he's holding on to Milla, his wife, while he is screwing around. And Foggy finally gets some balls and tells Matt the what for. Finally. He's the biggest whipping boy the Marvel U. has ever seen.
Then two and a half pages of finding out the attorney for Milla's parents must really be Lady Bullseye in disguise. Because she kills some dude that was coming to tell her she wasn't following the plan. Blah blah blah.
Another page and a half of Iron Fist and the old dude.
And then the issue ends on Matt getting home and finding a high pitched audio wave device which messes with his senses that I had forgotten he even had for the last 15 issues because they have hardly made an appearance! Argh! He breaks the device and then is confronted with a controlled Black Tarantula and a controlled White Tiger.
And the issue comes to an end with....TO BE CONTINUED....
Now, I know some of my blogging brethren will say that the plot really moves forward in this issue. That we're getting to know more about Matt and what is happening with Milla. That we are finding out how deep Lady Bullseye can take this. Learning more about the Matt and Dakota relationship. Seeing Matt thrown under the bus one more time.
But who gives a crap anymore. A suspenseful plot can only be built up so long before it just isn't suspenseful anymore.
And I'm not saying don't do this stuff, this plot development, but do it faster man! And I think that speaks for comic books in general anymore. It takes them 6 months to tell a story that would have lasted an issue back in the day. Seriously, go back and read Last Rites (#297-300). Now that is some good comic book storytelling. Suspense. Plot. Major character changes. And action.
I give this issue a 2 out of 10. And that's being generous because it's Christmas and I'm in the giving mood.
I'll put this review another way. If I wasn't a completist I'd be dropping this title. Next month even. But I'm a DD fanboy and will stick with him through thick and thin. But this is definitely thin.
Oh! And how do the numbers break down for this issue?
- Matt is in the book for 13 of the 22 pages (59%).
- Matt is in costume for 0 pages (0%).
- Other characters have a dominant role in this book 32% of the time when Matt isn't around.
- And there are only 4 action scenes (18%) and 0% of these action scenes have DD in them.
And as for the art. I am really getting tired of this photo copied/tracing look. And you really can't call it anything other than that. Look at some of the backgrounds....still images from a camera with some Photoshop layers for color. It's getting stale.
So that's it. Let the blood letting begin. I am sure people will have my head over this one.